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Pair Your Low-E Glass with Solar Screens

Low-emissivity or low-E windows have become increasingly common as homeowners look for ways to lower their energy bills. The increase in low-E window installations has brought an increasing problem: warped vinyl. More and more, there are reports of reflections from low-E windows melting the vinyl siding of neighboring homes or an adjoining portion of the home. In the hot California sun, this problem can be even more prevalent.

Low-E warps Siding

Applied to windows, a low-E coating is meant to reflect the sun’s hot rays, keeping homes cooler and reducing the burden on air conditioners. When the sun reflects off of a low-E-glazed surface, however, it can reflect that sunlight and focus it intensely on another object. In a tightly packed neighborhood, or on L- or U-shaped homes, that sunlight often focuses on vinyl siding. While the melting point of vinyl siding is between 160 and 165 degree Fahrenheit, the temperatures caused by the sun reflecting off low-E windows can be up to 219 degrees Fahrenheit. The occurrence of melted vinyl siding due to low-E windows worsens in the winter, when the sun is lower, and when windows curve slightly inward.

What to do About Warped Siding

When vinyl is warping due to the reflection of a low-E window — which is usually evident because the warping happens in a curved diagonal that follows the path of the sun across the window — it can cause a major quandary. Siding manufacturers generally won’t cover the cost of siding replacement under warranty. And if the window isn’t dealt with, the problem will occur again and again.

How Solar Screens Can Help

One of the easiest, and cheapest, ways to avoid warped siding to low-E glass is with solar screens. The only other options, replacing low-E windows with less energy efficient ones or continually replacing siding. Both options can cost thousands of dollars. Instead, you can cut the glare and prevent the warping with solar screens. Solar screens are designed to keep sunlight from hitting windows, thus keeping homes cooler without overtaxing air conditioners. When you put solar screens over a low-E window, prevent the sun from reflecting off of the low-E coating and melting vinyl siding or other nearby objects. Or, if you’ve been considering low-E windows to save on energy bills but your windows reflect lights onto your home or nearby homes, you could safely block the sun, cool your home and lower energy bills by foregoing low-E windows and installing solar screens.

If your low-E windows are melting vinyl, or if they have the potential to melt vinyl, call A to Z Window Screens to ask about solar screens today! We can help you solve the problem of melting vinyl quickly and without the expense of removing your low-E windows.

By Aaron Zambrana | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Low-Down on Low-E Windows

The name “Low E” doesn’t stand for “Low Excitement!”

For the past 10-15 years, many newer homes have been built with Low-E glass windows.  The advantage of this newer technology is that the home is kept cooler because more of the sun’s hot rays are reflected back out of the window before entering the home…. But the unintended consequences might surprise you!

Mike & Yvonne Schenck - Lincoln CA - A to Z Screens

On Friday August 30th Mike and Yvonne Schenck of Sun City Lincoln found out just how “E-xciting” Low-E glass can be!

Just as they were settling down to dinner, Mike and Yvonne heard a loud roaring sound coming from outside their home!  Mike said he thought it was a jet fighter making an exceptionally low pass, but became more concerned when the sound didn’t fade away but got louder.  To their horror, the Schencks discovered that their side yard fence was fully engulfed in flames with the fire spreading rapidly.  Yvonne grabbed their household fire extinguisher and unloaded with everything it had, but still to no avail!  The fire was already too big!

A short time later, the Lincoln Fire Department arrived and handily extinguished the blaze before causing too much damage.  The final score:  a badly damaged fence, a ”wasted” green waste can, and a badly singed propane bottle…. which thank goodness happened to be empty at the time!

The cause of the fire?  LOW-E Glass Windows!

House Fire - Lincoln CA - A to Z Screens

Do you remember as a kid how you used to use your parents’ magnifying glass to wreak havoc on the local ant population?  When held in just the correct position, the sun’s rays can be focused into a very hot beam of energy able to burn and start fires…

Low E Glass windows have the ability to do pretty much the same thing!  Obviously for such a catastrophe to occur, all the stars have to be aligned just right; The Low E glass window has to be at just the right angle in conjunction with the sun, and a combustible object needs to be in the path of the reflected beam of energy, but this phenomena occurs more often than one might expect!   The Schencks stated that the Lincoln Fire Department responds to 6 or 7 fires each year that were caused by Low E Glass reflection!  In their case, the Low-E glass had been melting the top of their plastic garbage can for a while, but they didn’t think much of it… until the reflected sunlight finally caught the flowerbed bark on fire which spread to the fence!

Low-E Glass Windows Cause Fire - Lincoln CA - A to Z Screens

Our Company, AtoZ Window Screens, is hired to install sunscreens on Low-E windows at least 2 or 3 homes per year because of fire related problems!  In years past, we’ve seen Low-E windows melt and burn lawn furniture, grass, bark chips, tall weeds, plastic garbage cans and other plastic storage containers!

The simplest solution is to keep the sun from shining on risk-prone Low-E glass windows in the first place!  Solar Screens or awnings are an ideal, long term solution to this very real danger.

If you notice permanent dead spots in your lawn, singed lawn furniture or melted plastic objects (usually always located on the West side of your home), your Low-E windows might be getting ready to provide you with some High-E excitement of combustible proportions!  Consider covering your windows with solar screens or awnings and then go get your excitement from something a little less dangerous than playing with fire!

By Aaron Zambrana | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment